The Long Center is a performing arts venue located along Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, Texas. The Long Center offers multiple performance and event spaces, including the Michael & Susan Dell Hall and the Debra and Kevin Rollins Studio Theatre. The Long Center’s founding resident companies are the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin Lyric Opera and Ballet Austin.The City of Austin leased the Lester E. Palmer Auditorium to the nonprofit group, Arts Center Stage, for renovation to create a performing arts venue in 1998. With a lead gift of $20 million from Joe R. And Teresa Lozano Long in April 1999, the project was renamed the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts.
An original plan developed by Chicago architects, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was commissioned November 1999, and by August 2001, the Long Center had raised over $61 million of the $110 goal. The project was designed to have four theatres, from a 232-seat studio theatre, to a grand theatre seating over 2,000 guests.
With the slowing economy in 2002-2003, the Long Center Board of Trustees, major donors, community arts leaders, and staff began researching alternative methods to improve project costs. A new project would be proposed and unanimously approved on October 2003, involving construction of the Long Center in phases. Phase I of the building project included the Michael & Susan Dell Hall (2,300 seats) and the Debra & Kevin Rollins Studio Theatre (240 seats). Phase II would include the Topfer Theatre and Recital & Education Building.
After 10 years of construction, the grand opening of the Long Center took place on March 28, 2008. Funding for the $77 million first-phase was provided for exclusively by private donations from more than 4,600 supporters.